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Written by Colin Athens

Hercules Networks is a company creating the world's first kiosk machine that charges all types of cell phones, PDA's, and mp3's, in a rapid 10 minute charge. The goCharge kiosks are compatible with more than 95% of cell phones in the world today and are able to take a fee or give charging away as a customer service.

The company idea came to founder Paul King simply enough while he was on his way to see a friend and his cell phone ran out of battery. After driving past several ATMs, he realized how easy it was for people to get cash anywhere, but not able to get a charge for their mobile devices. King, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, formulated the idea of starting a business to manufacture and distribute standalone public charging stations for electronic mobile devices.

King established Hercules Networks in 2008 with Michael Gold, who is currently the executive chairman of Hercules. After raising the first round of capital, King and Gold sought out additional private angel investors to help them build out a network of public charging stations. These stations are called goCharge kiosks and they can charge 95% of the world’s mobile devices in a rapid 10-minute charge. The unique charging stations have the capability to charge nearly every kind of phone, from a Blackberry to a PDA or iPhone. Each machine also includes a TV screen at eye-level that runs a 10-minute loop of advertisements, including ads from clients such as Bank of America, AT&T, and CBS. The target market of this product is found at convention centers, airports, and other heavy-traffic areas where people need to use their heavily and often don’t have a way to recharge. The company makes money through the sales of advertising and the leasing of machines to companies looking to attract people to their booths at conventions. This business model became a finalist for Business Week’s “Best Young Entrepreneurs” contest in 2009. 

At the moment, there are five different product models of goCharge stations, consisting of differing LCD dimensions, number of charging tips, and table/wall mounting capabilities. With expected revenues to reach $1.75 million in 2010, Hercules Networks is expecting goCharge kiosks to grow in volume by at least 500% per year through 2012. Toward the end of this year, Hercules Networks expects to release a home version of the kiosk, allowing each family to charge devices from one central location, rather than several different outlets in the house. Next time you can’t find an outlet at an airport or lose charge at a convention center, look for a Hercules Networks’ goCharge kiosk to charge your device in a timely and convenient manner.

 


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